What happens to a robust region when a once-thriving industry stops and leaves a community searching for a new identity? For the surrounding area of Chauncey, Ohio, it’s growing from the Baileys Trail System.
After the mining industry came to a halt in the 1950s, villages and townships of southeastern Ohio slid into difficult economic times. Still, they had other natural resources to rejuvenate their communities. When a group of local mountain bikers, Athens Bicycle Club, partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to leverage a large parcel of public land, they and several other partners worked together to develop a plan for trails and opportunity. As with most projects of this scope, hundreds of hours of meetings and planning were managed to make the project come together through a vast coalition of stakeholders. Just as complex as the groups involved were the creative ways to help pay for the work to start the Wayne National Forest’s dirt lines.
This transition from one kind of natural asset to another makes the community grow stronger and healthier by creating trails. The project is engaging the next generation of the region and energizing the previous generation.
The Baileys Trail System’s future is massive for riders, hikers, and runners of all abilities, with over 80 miles of trail in the plans. All thanks to this beautiful landscape full of welcoming people working to redefine its identity.